Kiosks are no longer the next big thing – they are the current big thing. Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last ten years (unlikely), you’ve almost certainly seen them around; they’re everywhere! From shops and hotels to restaurants and tourist hotspots (and of course the originals, the ATMs), touchscreen kiosks are just about ubiquitous.
They are used every day, in a multitude of functions and sectors. They have come on in leaps and bounds since their introduction to the world – the Plato Hotline, created in 1977 by Murray Lappe and placed into the University of Illinois Student Union – and are now at the forefront of storefront technology.
It seems as though, with each month that passes, a new and innovative kiosk is launched. There are so many different uses for them; they are the ultimate in versatility for almost any business. Let’s take a look at some of the best and most interesting uses.
Healthy: the Timpanogos Cave MYW2FF Kiosk
The National Park Service has found a novel way to attract more visitors to the Timpanogos Cave trail in Utah Valley – installing three iPad kiosks. This was done as part of the new Moving Your Way to Fitness and Fun (MYW2FF) programme, which has increased tourism, while helping the community get fit and active.
A kiosk was installed at the mouth of the cave and allows visitors to log their MYW2FF minutes, which lets them see the exercise they’ve done. A spokesperson for the trail says they are seeing up to 200 extra visitors a day since beginning the programme, and one dedicated visitor has lost 20 pounds after logging over 700 minutes’ exercise!
Tasty: the 2.0 from Panera Bread
Panera were one of the pioneers in the restaurant business when it came to using iPad kiosks, and they’re looking to up their game some more with Panera 2.0. This launch will take place alongside the renovation of a number of stores in Florida.
2.0 keeps things separate, meaning that customers will use different options if they’re eating in or taking away. This ensures a shorter waiting time, and even allows customers to store their payment details so they can bypass the cashier part altogether. Panera 2.0 will be brand-wide within the next three years.
Postal: the Swapbox
Swapbox is billed as a “super post office”, or more simply, “an automated post office.” That brief snippet tells you all you need to know about the California-based start-up. Founded by two Indian-American entrepreneurs, Swapbox kiosks are three times as large as Amazon lockers; this means they can store a large amount of post.
Though it’s currently only available in San Francisco and Santa Clara, you should expect to see it expanding soon. Customers can send packages to Swapbox sites for a small fee, and pick them up simply by swiping a credit card as identification. It’s safe, quick and simple – perfect for fast-paced business cities like San Fran.
Medical: Helping the NHS
The UK’s National Health Service does have one problem: its long waiting times. With that in mind, the Norfolk and Norwich NHS decided to contract Evoke Interactive to see how they could cut them down.
The new kiosks were designed to be self-check-in terminals for patients, in order to try and reduce the time spent queuing. It has been an unequivocal success: check-in times were found to have been reduced by 70%, and the programme is being further expanded.
Techy: the ecoATM’s Recycling Mission
ecoATM is a US-wide chain, with hundreds of kiosks available to consumers. They make trading in your old electronics incredibly simple, offering payouts of up to $300 then and there, depending on the make, model, and current condition.
This allows people to get rid of their last-gen gadgets without any hassle, and the kiosks even automatically recycle anything that’s either too old to be easily resold, or too greatly damaged to be usable.